The last 10 years for Riley Workman have been a whirlwind of lacrosse and hockey and this year his hard work paid off.
Workman, 16, was invited to represent Canada in the United States Box Lacrosse Nationals in California Aug. 1 to 3. He joined the Mavericks, a midget team coached by Andrew McBride, who plays for Calgary Roughneck and vied for top spot in the tournament. Their dedication paid off with a gold medal for the team against Cali-LAX Allstars 6-5 in a shootout.
Workman has been playing with Lacoka Lacrosse for the last 10 years and loves the sport even more than hockey. The team’s goal coming into the tournament was to win but Workman knew the competition was fierce. “They’re all really good teams.”
Taking on the players was somewhat intimidating as many of them were larger than the Mavericks.
“They’re big boys,” explained Workman.
But training from McBride helped them pull through some tough games to be undefeated. Workman helped the team in playoffs that would take them to the gold medal game and he believes he scored a goal in every game he played. For him the best part of the sport is when things get heated.
“When games get tough in that final five minutes, I love that,” he stated.
The sport runs in the family, Workman’s sister Shae, 13, competed in the female National Box Lacrosse Championships in Halifax, N.S. July 23 to 28.
She has been playing lacrosse for the last two years and decided to try out for the national team and made it. “I was really nervous.”
Team Alberta won bronze in the competition.
“But we made Alberta history. We were the first (Alberta) team to ever beat Ontario,” she stated.
British Columbia was the toughest team to beat to get them into the gold medal game but the team proved too strong for the young Alberta team, she said. “British Columbia games were the most important. We could beat Ontario but it only really mattered if we beat B.C. too.”
Getting into lacrosse seemed a natural choice for Shae, who did not enjoy sports except for swimming. Her brother helped get her into lacrosse.
“I tried a bunch of other sports but I didn’t really like them.”
“She kind of decided she wanted to get into sports,” explained her brother.
The rules at nationals were slightly different than what she is used to and periods lasted 17 minutes rather than 20.
“My favourite game was when we beat Ontario. There was many game changing moments in that game,” said Shae.
“I’m going to continue. I like the feeling when you score…You do it for your team. Hitting’s fun too,” she added.
Her brother plans to continue with the sport as well. He has aged out of midgets and will try out for the junior team next season. Workman wants to advance as far as possible in the sport.